Politics

Political stories for Southern Middle Tennessee.

Gov. Lee Signs Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Governor Bill Lee Lee on Monday signed his criminal justice reform bill. The first bill is called the Alternatives to Incarceration Act. The bill replaces the Tennessee Community Act of 1985 and helps local governments look for community-based alternatives to prison. It also puts caps on the duration of probation and stops a judge from …

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New Law Requires Certain Medical Providers to Cremate or Bury Fetal Remains from Surgical Abortions

Tennessee will soon become the latest state to require certain medical providers to cremate or bury fetal remains from surgical abortions under legislation recently signed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee. Roughly 10 other Republican-majority states have enacted similar laws across the country despite objections from reproductive rights advocates, who argue such requirements are unnecessary and …

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Push to Involve More Tennesseans in Once-in-Decade Redistricting

Tennesseans historically have had few opportunities for public participation in the redistricting process, and this year, some advocacy groups are working to change that. Shanna Singh Hughey, president of the nonpartisan think tank ThinkTennessee, said in past once-in-a-decade cycles, residents have mostly submitted draft maps or shared their opinions with their legislators. But in the previous …

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New TCAT-Shelbyville Campus Funded

Local leaders are praising the state for including $42.4 million in the approved 2021-22 budget to build a new Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Shelbyville campus in 231 North Business Park. TCAT-Shelbyville currently has a waiting list of 550 students, primarily because of space limitations at its flagship facility on Madison Street in Shelbyville. The new …

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New Bathroom Bill for Tennessee

Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill that would put public schools and districts at risk of civil lawsuits if they let transgender students or employees use multi-person bathrooms or locker rooms that do not reflect their gender at birth. The state Senate voted 21-7 Wednesday in favor of the legislation. The House passed a slightly …

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More Pay for Tullahoma Mayor and Aldermen if Approved

At its last regular board meeting the Tullahoma Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted on first reading to raise the pay of the board. Mayoral and aldermanic salaries would go up if approved after the next alderman race. The mayor’s annual salary would go up from $9,400 to $15,000 and each alderman’s salary going up …

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Rural TN Communities Trapped in Cash-Bail System

For rural Tennesseans, the cash-bail system has accelerated an endless cycle of arrests, excessively high bonds and incarceration, in communities already grappling with a substance-abuse epidemic and shrinking local economies. According to a Vera Institute of Justice study, pre-trial incarcerations have jumped by 163% in the 53 rural Tennessee counties, compared with a 2% increase in …

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Bill Requiring Schools to Alert Parents of Instruction on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity heads to Gov. Lee

A Tennessee bill requiring school districts to alert parents of any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity and let them opt their student out is heading to Republican Gov. Bill Lee. The legislation cleared its last hurdle in the GOP-supermajority Legislature with a 64-23 House vote Wednesday. The Senate approved the bill last week. …

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Gov Lee wants Two-Week Sales Tax Holiday on Restaurants, Bars and Groceries

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is proposing a $100 million, two-week sales tax holiday on restaurants, bars and groceries, as his administration looks to divvy up hundreds of millions of dollars in extra spending due to better-than-expected revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, the Republican’s finance team presented a budget amendment to his $42 billion …

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